J.K. Rowling World Book Day Chat
Note: Questions may not be in the exact order they were asked.
J.K. Rowling (JKR): Hi, everyone. I’m here LIVE and ready to answer your questions!
Question from Bobby: Any thoughts about a prequel series?
JKR: No, no prequels here. You won’t need them by the time I’ve finished. You’ll have all the backstory you’ll need!
Question from Miggs: Is there going to be a new Minister of Magic in the next books?
JKR: Yes. “Ha! Finally, a concrete bit of information,” I hear you cry!
Question from Kaidi MacKay: Dumbledore is getting older. Will it be a lot harder for him to fight Lord Voldemort this time around?
JKR: He is getting older, but he didn’t do badly at the end of Phoenix, so there’s life in him yet!
Question from Kings Park Primary School: What will happen to Hagrid’s half-brother?
JKR: You’ll find out in Book 6. Luckily he’s become a little more controllable.
Question from AjXTee: How long does it take you to plan a book before you even start writing? Or do you just plan as you go along?
JKR: It’s hard to say; Book 6has been planned for years, but before I started writing seriously I spend two months re-visiting the plan and making absolutely sure I know what I am doing (learning from my mistakes. I didn’t check the plan for Goblet of Fire and had to re-write a third of the book).
Question from Damaged: Will Winky ever recover?
JKR: Poor Winky… she’ll never be entirely cured of her Butterbeer addiction, I’m afraid.
Question from HarriFreak: Who is the “one [who] never will return” Death Eater?
JKR: You have to work it out, but a lot of fansites have got it right.
Question from Vicky from Bishop Walsh RC Comprehensive – Sutton Coldfield: How do you react when your books/movies are criticized by critics?
JKR: It depends what they say. Sometimes I agree with the criticism, though I can’t say that’s fun. It also depends who it is. There’s a vast difference between being criticized by someone you really admire (which has happened) and someone who you don’t admire at all (which doesn’t hurt)!
Question from Catheldral school: Will Wormtail ever pay Harry back?
JKR: You’ll see… keep reading!
Question from SnapesForte: Is Mad-Eye Moody the real Moody this time? And if he is, is he up to something fishy? Because he’s acting too muhc like Crouch, Jr. – sniffing food, etc.
JKR: It’s the other way around. Crouch, Jr. acted just like the real Moody.
Question from Tanya J Potter: If you could change anything about Harry Potter what would it be?
JKR: There are loads of things I would change. I don’t think any writer is ever completely happy with what they’ve written. One of these days – once seven is finished – I’ll revise all seven books.
Question from pablo: If Harry dies in the ending of the books, will Voldemort be invincible?
JKR: Pablo, I can’t possibly answer. You’ll have to read book seven!
Question from eastbrook4: Why did Harry have to split up with Cho Chang?
JKR: That’s life, I’m afraid. They were never going to be happy. It was better that it ended early!
Question from Joshua from Navigation Primary School: How were you involved in making the Harry Potter films, and did Hogwarts look like you had imagined it?
JKR: Hogwarts looked just as I imagined it. It was the most bizarre experience when I walked onto the set of the Great Hall; it really was like walking into my own brain.
Question from Harry: Has Voldemort any children?
JKR: No. Voldemort as a father… now that’s not a nice thought.
Quesiton from Megan: Is there a link between Snape and vampires??
JKR: Erm… I don’t think so.
Question from Cookie246122: Why did you kill Sirius? It made me very sad 🙁
JKR: I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t want to do it, but there was a reason. If you think you can forgive me, keep reading. You’ll find out. (I feel really guilty now.)
Question from book: Why did Voldemort pick Harry and not Neville?
JKR: Dumbledore explains this in Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort identified more with the half-blood boy and therefore decided he must be the greater risk.
Question from dsm: Are Harry’s powers going to get even greater?
JKR: Yes, he’s really progressing as a wizard now (which is lucky because I know what’s in store for him).
Question from Hannah from St. Malachy’s Primary School – Armagh: Did you feel the actors suited the characters of your book when you met them?
JKR: Yes, I did. Emma Watson in particular was very, very like Hermione when I first spoke to her. I knew she was perfect from that first phone call.
Question from gazza: Will harry become Headmaster of Hogwarts?
JKR: I’m not sure I can see Harry in an academic career; he’s seen so much action!
Question from Class AG: Did you base Voldemort on any real people? If so, are you related to them?!
JKR: Lol. No, I didn’t base Voldemort on any real person!
Question from novell: I find moaning Myrtle is the saddest character in your books, inspiring a mixture of revulsion and pity. Does she play any further part?
JKR: You do see her again. Don’t you like her? I know she’s a bit revolting, but that’s why I’m so fond of her.
Question from katrin: What does it feel like when kids tell you that it’s thanks to you that they started to read?
JKR: Nobody could possibly say anything that pleased me more. It’s the most wonderful thing to hear.
Question from *LRGS School: Which character do you most dislike ?
JKR: Probably Uncle Vernon.
Question from class 14: If you were an Animagus, which animal would you be? And why?
JKR: I gave Hermione my ideal Animagus because it’s my favorite animal. You’ll find the answer in the Room of Requirement, Order of the Phoenix!
Question from Madina: Are you planning to ever visit Russia? There are a lot of young fans dreaming about meeting you!
JKR: I’d love to visit Russia. It’s a long-standing ambition, so you never know! My son’s still a bit young for long journeys, though, He’s not one year old, yet.
Question from Magwitch: If you could be any female character in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which one would you be?
JKR: Hermione. Definitely not Pansy Parkinson.
Question from Ali: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape?
JKR: Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.
Question from Kings Park Primary School: Which position would you like to play if you played Quidditch?
JKR: Who wouldn’t want to be Seeker? But I think I’d be dreadful at Quidditch. I’m not sporty, I’m not great with heights, and I’m clumsy as well. Neville would be about my standard.
Question from Maidenhead Library: Why did you choose to do books about wizards?
JKR: It chose me. The idea just sprang into my head, and I knew I had to write it.
Question from Majeed from Bristol Grammar School – Bristol: To what extent did you conceive Harry Potter as a moral tale?
JKR: I did not conceive it as a moral tale. The morality sprang naturally out of the story, a subtle but important difference. I think any book that sets out to teach or preach is likely to be hard going at times (though I can think of a couple of exceptions).
Question from Luisa: Is Draco an only child?
JKR: Yes. You wouldn’t want more Dracos, would you?!
Question from bubbles: If you were Harry Potter for a day what would you do?
JKR: If I, personally, were Harry Potter I think I would go and hide somewhere, but that’s because I know what’s coming!
Question from Sussie: Does Harry’s eye color become important in the future books, like we’ve heard?
JKR: No comment!
Question from Bradley y4 Griffyndor: Why did you call the school “Hogwarts”?
JKR: I tried all sorts of different versions of the name, and then this word floated into my mind, and I knew it was the right one.
Question from Lucy: What happened to Wormtail?
JKR: You’ll find out in Book 6.
Question from bibwhang: Will Ron ever get on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?
JKR: Well, he’s already there! The question is whether the new Quidditch Captain will allow him to stay!
Question from Siriusstar: Is Remus a pure-blood?
Question from julesrbf: Where did you come up with the word “Muggle”?
JKR: I was looking for a word that suggested both foolishness and loveability. The word “mug” came to mind, for somebody gullible, and then I softened it. I think “Muggle” sounds quite cuddly. I didn’t know that the word “muggle” had been used as drug slang at that point. Ah, well.
Question from spud: What type of books did you read when you were younger?
JKR: Anything; books for adults and children alike.
Question from Krish: Do you think that the films reflect well on the books?
JKR: I think they’re pretty faithful to the books. Hogwarts looks just as I imagined it; I had a lot of input on how the various locations look.
Question from Debbie: What will Ron’s job be when he leaves school?
JKR: Well, assuming he lives to leave school… I’m not going to tell you 🙂
Question from faye109: Is twelve the maximum possible number of OWLs one can achieve?
JKR: Yes, I think it is off the top of my head.
Question from kai: Where do wizarding children go to school before Hogwarts?
JKR: They can either go to a Muggle primary school, or they are educated at home. The Weasleys were taught by Mrs. Weasley.
Question from zwimmey: Have you considered writing childrens science fiction, or will you move on to a completely new genre?
JKR: I don’t think I’d be very good at science fiction; you need to know some science! Probably a completely different genre.
Question from Kyla: What made Sirius decide to send Snape to the Willow?
JKR: Because Sirius loathed Snape (and the feeling was entirely mutual). You’ll find out more about this in due course.
Question from Leanne from Eastbrook Primary School – Hemel Hempstead: If you could spend a day in real life with one of your fictional characters, who would it be, and what would you do?
JKR: I think I’d most like to spend a day with Harry. I’d take him out for a meal and apologize for everything I’ve put him through.
Question from Luisa: How old are Charlie and Bill Weasley in relation to their other siblings?
JKR: Oh dear, math. Let me think. Bill is two years older than Charlie, who is two years older than Percy.
Question from Phoenix_Tear: Do you ever get a dream [that] helps you in writing the Harry Potter series?
JKR: No, and I wish I had! I did once have an incredible dream about Nicholas Flamel, though.
Question from Saskia: Hagrid mentioned he’s allergic to cats in Philosopher’s Stone. Why has he never sneezed when Crookshanks was around?
JKR: He’s never around Crookshanks very much. I’m allergic to cats, and I can be in a room with one briefly. But of course, Crookshanks isn’t all cat. Read Fantastic Beasts!
Question from RAXTA: How did you invent the sport Quidditch?
JKR: I sat in a hotel room after a row with my then boyfriend and invented it. Looking back, I can understand why I liked the idea of Bludgers.
Question from amanda: I want to be a writer. Any tips?
JKR: Read as much as you can. Keep writing and then throwing it away until one day you do something that you don’t think belongs in the bin. Stick to writing what you know about. Don’t give up.
Question from Will: What is your favorite magical beast?
JKR: The phoenix, definitely.
Question from alixnecole: Were you consulted at all when the actors were chosen for the movie?
JKR: Yes, Chris Columbus, who was the director of the first film, asked me if there was anybody I thought would be good, and I said, “Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid” in one breath.
Qustion from Field: Do you plan for Ginny to take on a major character role in the next two books?
JKR: Well, now that Ginny has stopped being mute in Harry’s presence, I think you can see that she is a fairly forceful personality (and she always has been. Remember Ron saying that she “never shuts up” in Chamber of Secrets)?
Question from Fiona from St. Richard’s Catholic College: How do you come up with all of those spells?
JKR: Sometimes I use elements of “real” spells that people used to believe worked, but mostly I make them up.
Question from Adele: Who are the two “unknown Gryffindor girls” in Harry’s year?
JKR: Oh, I’ve just understood what you mean. I haven’t got the notebook on hand, and I can’t remember! That’s terrible. I’ll try and remember before the end of the chat!
Question from bertieana: Will we be seeing Krum again any time soon?
JKR: You will see Krum again, though not soon.
Question from Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form Professor Snape’s boggart and Patronus take. I am very curious.
JKR: Well, I’m not going to tell you, Ernie, but that’s because it would give so much away. I wonder whether Ernie is your real name. (It was my grandfather’s.)
Question from Andrews: Does Voldemort die in the last book?
JKR: Now, do you really really think I’d answer that?!
Question from Cris: One answer we’re all longing for: How’s the writing of Book 6 going, and when will it be released?
JKR: I can’t say when it will be released because that’s down to my publishers. But it’s going really well. I am loving writing it.
Question from starlinguk: Do you believe in prophecies in real life?
JKR: No, I don’t. And even in the wizarding world, as McGonagall explains in Prisoner of Azkaban, true Seers are very rare.
Question from katty: If you were to have a magical power what would you choose?
JKR: I would like to fly. And sometimes to turn off other people’s voices.
Question from Persia: If a Muggle looks at Hogwarts what will they see?
JKR: Nice name, Persia. They will see nothing but a ruined castle with large signs on it saying “keep out, dangerous building.”
Question from renata: What happened between Hermione and Viktor Krum during the summer?
JKR: Ron would like to know that, too.
Question from Helen from Ulverston Victoria High School – Cumbria: Do you realize Harry and co. sit on their broomsticks backward? You can’t balance like that!
JKR: Lol. You clearly haven’t read Quidditch Through the Ages, or you’d know about the Cushioning Charm! Buy it at once; it’s for charity!
Question from HPFreak7: How are Muggle parents convinced to let their kids go to Hogwarts, a strange place they never heard of before. And wouldn’t they think it [were] a practical joke?
JKR: In the case of Muggle parents, special messengers are sent to explain everything to them. But don’t forget that they will have noticed that there’s something strange about their child for the previous ten years, so it won’t come as a complete bolt from the blue.
Question from ashvital: Which of your books does your daughter like best?
JKR: It would be between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. She likes ACTION!
Question from Chibimono: Do you have any future plans in particular for Draco Malfoy?
JKR: I’ve got plans for all my characters. Actually, this is a really good place to answer a question about Draco and Hermione, which a certain Ms. Radcliffe is desperate to have answered. Will they end up together in Book 6/7? NO! The trouble is, of course, that girls fancy Tom Felton, but Draco is NOT Tom Felton! (My daughter likes Tom Felton very much, too, because he taught her how to use a diablo.)
Question from Amy: What did Dudley [relive] when he faced the Dementors in Book 5?
JKR: Ah, good question. You’ll find out!
Question from hanna: How did you feel when your first Harry Potter book came out?
JKR: Elated, ecstatic, extraordinarily happy!
Question from Josh from Cottenham Village College: Right at the beginning, when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, how did Voldemort and Harry both survive?
JKR: That is the crucial and central question, and if I answered it there would be hardly any point writing Books 6 and 7… so I won’t!
Question from kelly_holland: When you turn into an Animagus, can you choose what animal you become? Or does this get “assigned” to you?
JKR: No, you can’t choose. You become the animal that suits you best. Imagine the humiliation when you finally transform after years of study and find that you most closely resemble a warthog.
Question from queenmarion: I noticed in the Black family tree that everyone is named after a constellation. Is this intentional? Does this have any bearing on the plot?
JKR: It’s just one of those family traditions, although Narcissa breaks the trend. I had always thought of her as “Narcissa,” so I decided not to change her to match the others when I came up with their names. There’s been a lot of speculation that she is in some way linked to Lily and Petunia because of the flower theme, but I can put that rumor to rest here: She isn’t related to them.
Question from Wild Rose: Will we see more of Narcissa Malfoy now that Lucius is unavailable?
JKR: Yes, you will.
Question from Echo: Was Percy acting entirely of his own accord in Order of the Phoenix?
JKR: I’m afraid so.
Question from MauraEllen: Did the debt Wormtail has to Harry carry over to Voldemort when he sacrificed his arm to restore his body?
JKR: No. Can’t say any more than that!
Question from Adele: Will poor Harry be stuck at the Dursleys’ all next summer?
JKR: Not all summer, no. In fact, he has the shortest stay on Privet Drive so far.
Question from Cathedral: Don’t want to ruin the ending, but will we be finding out more about the significance of the shape of Harry’s scar in future books?
JKR: The shape is not the most significant aspect of that scar, and that’s all I’m going to say!
Question from Rita: Will Neville have a bigger part to play?
JKR: I think he’s already got a much bigger part. Neville has changed a lot as he’s become older and more confident. Book 5 was a real turning point for Neville.
Question from HG: What is Trelawney’s middle name?
Question from Denise from Blackheath High School for Girls London: If Harry Potter [were] a girl, do you think his adventures would have been different?
JKR: Yes, I do think they would be different. I imagined Harry as a boy from the start, so I’ve never thought about Harriet Potter, but I’m sure lots of things in the books would change. Ron, for a start. He’d have to be Ronalda.
Question from HPFreak7: How did Harry get the Marauder’s Map back, when Crouch, Jr. had it last?
JKR: Loads of people have asked me this. I knew I should have shown Harry nipping into Moody’s empty office and getting it back, but I assumed you’d all know that’s what he did. Sorry!
Question from HG: Will we see Moaning Myrtle again?
JKR: Oh, yes, I love Myrtle. I couldn’t shut her out for long.
Question from Fenny: Will Lord Voldemort get more “screentime” in the upcoming books?
JKR: You will see him again, but like most evil dictators, he prefers his henchmen to do his dirty work.
Question from mnich: If you had a job in the wizarding world, what do you think you would be?
JKR: I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than write, so I suppose I’d write spellbooks!
Question from Arianna: Can we believe everything the Sorting Hat says?
JKR: The Sorting Hat is certainly sincere.
Question from LizardLaugh: I love Tonks. She’s my favorite new character. Will she play a large role in future books and/or in Harry’s life?
JKR: Tonks is hanging around. I really like her, too.
Question from Softballchicky32: What is the extent of Hagrid’s magical powers?
JKR: Not great! He can do magic to a fairly basic standard and occasionally surprises everyone (himself included) by bringing off more impressive bits of magic. Of course, he is somewhat hampered by the fact that his wand is broken and disguised as an umbrella.
Question from mnich: Was Voldemort born evil?
JKR: I don’t believe that anybody was born evil. You will find out more about the circumstances of his birth in the next book.
Question from Fran from Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School: Which character in the Harry Potter books are you most like?
JKR: Hermione when I was younger, definitely. But there’s a bit of Harry and Ron in me too.
Question from mnich: Is it true Harry will get a more permanent injury in the sixth book?
JKR: I’ve read this rumor on the net, and I’m not sure where it came from. I don’t really want to get into what happens to Harry in Book 6, but I certainly never said that he would have a “more permanent injury.”
Question from Sirius Kase: Will we get to know the Grangers? Is Hermione an only child?
JKR: I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister, but she’s never made an appearance, and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.
Question from Calliope: Are the Muggle and magical worlds ever going to be rejoined?
JKR: No, the breach was final, although as Book 6 shows, the Muggles are noticing more and more odd happenings now that Voldemort’s back.
Question from Jami: Is Harry related to Godric Gryffindor?
JKR: People are always wondering who Harry might be related to. Maybe he is 😉
Question from Delleve: Are there any plans for any more background books like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages in the future?
JKR: Possibly. If I do them, it will be for charity like the first two.
Question from Potter47: Did you come up with sugar quills from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I believe there were “Sugar Pencils” in that book.
JKR: Oh, dear, I don’t know whether I did or not. Not consciously, anyway. But it’s not a very difficult idea to come up with; we all suck the ends of pens and pencils (or I do), so it seemed logical to make them taste nice, and at Hogwarts, obviously, they use quills!
Question from snowball: Do you think a film no longer than the first two films can do justice to a book as long and complex as Goblet of Fire?
JKR: I think that they will have to simplify the plot somewhat. Steve Kloves, the scriptwriter, is really good, and if anyone can do the essence of the book justice, he can.
Question from Kirsten from Kirkintilloch High School: If Hagrid [were] a real person and came to your house, what would you cook him for dinner?
JKR: Something like an entire side of beef, I think. And I’m quite good at Yorkshire puddings so a couple of dozen of them, too.
Question from coolbeans3131: Would you like to see the same actors portray the trio in all seven movies?
JKR: Yes, I would. I really like all three of them.
Question from Kirk Wilkins: Will you ever publish all your notebooks of information on the series? I am very interested in reading 150 pages on the history of the Dementors!
JKR: Lol. Who said there were 150 pages on the Dementors??? I certainly didn’t! I don’t think I’ll ever publish my notebooks. Too many revealing doodlings!
Question from Jangles: Are you going to write books about Harry after school?
JKR: Probably not, but I’ll never say “never” because every time I do I immediately break the vow!
Question from Field: Regarding Harry’s subconscious feelings, how has it changed from Book 1 to Book 5?
JKR: Well, he’s obviously been through a lot since Book 1, and Book 5 was the book when he cracked up a little. In Book 6, the wizarding world is really at war again, and he has to master his own feelings to make himself useful.
Question from polly weasley: Will Harry fall for another girl in Book 6, or will he be too busy for romance?
JKR: He’ll be busy, but what’s life without a little romance?
Question from Rorujin: How is Dobby able to Apparate inside Hogwarts if no one else can?
JKR: He’s a house-elf; they’ve got powers wizards haven’t got (but wizards have also got powers that house-elves haven’t).
Question from Potter47: What is the sixth book going to be called? The seventh?
JKR: It will be called Harry Potter and… something. Catchy, don’t you think? And I think I’ll follow the same model for seven.
Question from Potter47: Will Harry tell Neville about the prophecy?
JKR: Harry will tell his nearest and dearest about the prophecy when he’s ready. He needs time to digest the news himself first.
Question from Rorujin: Did Wormtail use Voldemort’s wand to kill Cedric? Is it why Cedric comes out of Voldemort’s wand even though it was Wormtail who killed him?
Question from SiriuslyLovinSirius: If we ever see Sirius again, what form will he be in?
JKR: I couldn’t possibly answer that for fear of incriminating myself.
Question from * Cathedral: Will we be hearing anything from Sirius Black’s brother, Regulus, in future books?
JKR: Well, he’s dead, so he’s pretty quiet these days.
Question from Shannon from St. Mary Magdalen’s Junior School – London: How do you feel when you see children reading your books?
JKR: I feel incredibly proud. Sometimes I want to poke them in the back and say “guess who,” but I restrain myself.
Question from Kelpie_8: Will the two way mirror Sirius gave Harry ever show up again?
JKR: Ooh, good question. There’s your answer.
Question from Rita: What happened to Harry’s grandparents? Will we ever learn about them?
JKR: They’re all dead and not particularly important to the story, although you will find out a little bit more.
Question from Rita: What about Wormtail? Is there hope for redemption?
JKR: There’s always hope, of course. You’ll find out more about our rat-like friend in Book 6.
Question from Rita: What ever happened to Sirius’s flying motorbike?
JKR: Ah, good question. You’ll find out, but the real sleuths among you might be able to guess.
Question from kylie: What does the “J” in “Remus J. Lupin” stand for?
JKR: John. Boring but true!
Question from hermione 3: Will Harry and Hermione be together? *sigh*
JKR: Lol. Not saying… but you’ve had enough clues by now, surely?!
Question from Adele: Thanks for the interview! So… will Harry be receiving a second kiss in his last two years at Hogwarts? 😉
JKR: He might well be receiving another kiss (or two), but I’m not saying who the kisser’s going to be. I’m sorry, we’re running out of time. How about three more questions?
Question from Stacey, 11, from Plymouth: If you got the chance to make a Polyjuice Potion, who would you be and why? And what would you do in the hour time limit?
JKR: I’d like to be Tony Blair for an hour. I’d call a press conference and announce all the policies I’d like to implement!
Question from Sirius Riddle: What houses were Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, James Potter, and [Peter Pettigrew] in? Everyone tells me they were all Gryffindor, but I won’t believe it unless I hear it from Ms. Rowling herself!
JKR: This is JK herself saying that they were indeed in Gryffindor!
Question from kylie: Thanks for writing such wonderful books, Ms. Rowling :). Just one question: What are Ron, Hermione, and Ginny’s middle names? Thank you 🙂
JKR: My pleasure. 🙂 Middle names: Ginny[‘s] is Molly, of course, Hermione[‘s], Jane, and Ron[‘s], poor boy, is Bilius. That’s it, everyone. There have been sixteen thousand questions, so I’m so sorry if yours hasn’t been answered, but hopefully somebody else did it for you. I’ve really enjoyed it. Hope you have. Back to the next chapter now… lots of love xxx
BBC’s report on the webchat.